Feds Indict Betting Site for Money Laundering
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The Department of Justice (DoJ) raised the stakes in its campaign against online gambling sites yesterday with money laundering indictments against Antigua-based Worldwide Telesports (WWTS) and its operators.
William Scott and Jessica Davis, already U.S. fugitives stemming from a 1998 illegal gambling indictment, are charged with laundering approximately $250 million worth of Internet-based wagers.
The DoJ contends funds paid into or from offshore Internet gambling sites violates U.S. law.
According to the DoJ, Scott and Davis, through their gambling site, illegally enticed bettors to send funds from the United States to Antigua with the intent that the funds would be used for wagers on Internet casino games and sporting events.
Online gambling is legal in Antigua.
"This indictment underscores the Justice Department's commitment to attacking illegal Internet gambling concerns by using federal anti-money laundering laws," the DoJ said in a statement.
The indictment alleges the bets were placed from the United States by toll-free telephone numbers and through Scott's BetWWTS site and other Internet sites controlled by him.
In addition, the indictment claims subsequent financial transactions made by Scott with the proceeds of his gambling activities amount to separate money laundering incidents.
Scott is also charged with failing to report foreign bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service.
The 65-year-old Scott has long been a target of the DoJ. After his 1998 indictment, he renounced his U.S. citizenship and has been living in the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
Davis, 35, is alleged to have control over several of Scott's banking accounts.
In 2003, the DoJ grabbed $7 million from a $10 million account maintained by Scott in Guernsey, an independent island off the coast of France.